Friday, May 29, 2009

(39) Autumn Apple and Spinach Salad

Super easy and very flavorful! I'm not normally one for raw onion, but it was excellent in this salad. The dressing was a surprise too! It doesn't have any oil, but it's not needed. Just the right amount of tang. I'll make this one again for sure!

Autumn Apple and Spinach Salad

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, October 2004

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
8 cups bagged prewashed baby spinach (about 8 ounces)
1 large, firm, sweet-tart apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled blue cheese

Combine first 6 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk.

Combine onion, spinach, and apple in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 60 (29% from fat), Fat: 1.9g (sat 1g,mono 0.5g,poly 0.1g), Protein: 2.7g, , Carbohydrate: 9.4g, Fiber: 2.2g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Iron: 1.3mg, Sodium: 251mg, Calcium: 76mg

(38) Sausage and Bean Casserole

I was a little off in my timing of this recipe - this is an AWESOME hearty meal and would be great on a cold winter night. Oops! It was 94 degrees here in FL today! Oh well, we enjoyed it just the same! Very easy to make and it goes right in the oven in the pan that you use on the stove. I like that!! I was concerned about the bread, but it was great/necessary. DONT use dried breadcrumbs!! The soft bread almost gives the topping a cheesy like feeling. This one's a keeper!

I should also mention that this did NOT make 8 servings. I measured it out with my handy-dandy measuring cup and it made 6 servings exactly!!

PS: I can't vouch for how this tastes with the bay leaf. I'd rather eat dirt!!

Sausage and Bean Casserole

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, November 2007

Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 (16-ounce) package light smoked turkey sausage (such as Hillshire Farm), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
3 (1-ounce) slices white bread
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and turkey sausage to pan; sauté for 5 minutes or until browned. Add garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 2 tablespoons brown sugar, tomato paste, dried thyme, freshly ground black pepper, cannellini beans, and bay leaf. Add ground red pepper, if desired. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 1/2 cups.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over bean mixture, and lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until browned. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 205 (14% from fat), Fat: 3.3g (sat 1.1g,mono 0.1g,poly 0.5g), Protein: 12.1g, Carbohydrate: 30g, Fiber: 4.4g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Iron: 2.7mg, Sodium: 823mg, Calcium: 77mg

(37) Healhty Pumpkin Pancakes

This recipe is one that I feel 'eh' about. I was prepared to LOVE them, but I didn't. They were very dense and I think that was part of the problem. In my mind, pancakes should be light and fluffy. We ate them, but I won't repeat this recipe as is.

Does anybody have a pumpkin pancake recipe that they love? Healthy or not, I'd love to try it, so please email me or post them in the comments!! Thank you!

PS: I think my whole wheat flour has gone bad. Maybe that was part of my problem? Who knows?!

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes

Source: Recipezaar

2 cups whole wheat flour (I use whole wheat white flour)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (I use Splenda Brown sugar baking blend)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 cups nonfat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons olive oil (so much better for you and doesn't affect the flavor)
1 cup canned pumpkin

1. Mix all the dry ingredients well.
2. Mix all the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients until there are no clumps.
3. Cook on medium heat until the edges look dry, then flip.
4. Remember, these pancakes will be dense and thick. This is how they are supposed to turn out.
5. Super good with REAL maple syrup!
6. Enjoy!

PS: The notes after ingredients are from the original recipe poster, not me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Random question of the day...

Can flour go bad??

And the answer that I found when researching this question is YES... especially whole wheat flour. I think that may be to blame for my lack of love for the upcoming recipe. So if you have some flour that you aren't quite sure how long you've had it - throw it out!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

(36) Salsa Cornbread

You can't have chili without cornbread!!! I'm always looking for new ways to do cornbread (besides the traditional Jiffy from the box!). My husband called this "Junk Cornbread" and he was right. I wish I had used the seeds from the jalapeno. Very filling portion (I made 9, not 10... not sure how you would cut a square pan into 10!).

Salsa Cornbread

Tip: If you do not have an ovenproof skillet of the correct size, use an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish. Do not preheat the empty baking dish in the oven before filling it.

Source: Eating Well Magazine, Winter 2004
Yield: 10 servings

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk or equivalent buttermilk powder
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup drained canned corn kernels
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Place a 9-inch cast-iron skillet (or similar ovenproof skillet, see Tip) in the oven to heat.

2. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

3. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, butter and honey in a medium bowl. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients; mix with a rubber spatula. Stir in corn, onion, tomato, garlic and jalapeno.

4. Remove the skillet from the oven and coat it with cooking spray. Pour in the batter, spreading evenly. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake the cornbread until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 138 calories; 4 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 70 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrate; 6 g protein; 1 g fiber; 319 mg sodium.

(35) Spicy Sausage Chili

My need for red pepper flakes has been met!! It's nasty and rainy here in FL today and even though it's May, we needed some warm comfort food. My husband suggested chili so I ran with it! I found this recipe and it's a definite keeper!!

For some reason I found myself in Food Lion (instead of my beloved Publix!) on my way home today. The stupid store only had regular (sweet) Italian turkey sausage, so I had to settle for that. To compensate, I used hot chili powder from Penzeys (I love Penzeys!!). I also used an extra 1/4 tsp of pepper flakes. The chili was spicy, but not fiery hot... It was perfect! YUM!

PS: As I typed this up, I realized I forgot the garlic! HELLO AMY?! Duh!

Spicy Sausage Chili

Yield: 7 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
Source: Cooking Light, MARCH 1998

2 cups diced onion
3/4 pound hot turkey Italian sausage, crumbled
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 (14.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
2 large garlic cloves, minced

Combine diced onion and turkey sausage in a Dutch oven, and cook over medium-high heat until browned, stirring constantly. Stir in the water and remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 234 (31% from fat), Fat: 8g (sat 2.4g,mono 2.9g,poly 2.5g), Protein: 16.7g, Carbohydrate: 25.9g, Fiber: 2.9g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Iron: 3.6mg, Sodium: 628mg, Calcium: 88mg

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What do you call it??

When worlds collide, there's bound to be a little bit of confusion, right?! I'm from SE Virginia. My husband is from Pittsburgh (but lived most of his life in Tampa). So I'm the southern girl - you know, the kind that has a jar of bacon grease in the refrigerator! Yeah, that's me... I'm not the only one out there, am I? Anyway, he's the guy who loves kielbasa (pronounced cuh-bahss-eee, according to him and my mother in law!) and craves his mom's German-heritage meals like haluska.

Anyway, one of the weirdest things to me when we got together was how we differed on what eggs were called. If you put an egg in a hot pan and cook on both sides until the white is done but the yolk is runny, what do you call it?? He calls it "dippy eggs", I call it "fried".

I made some for breakfast this morning and it got me thinking - what does the rest of the world call it? Please leave a comment on this post and weigh in!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

(34) Onion-Smothered Italian Burgers

This dinner was AWESOME!!! I freaking loved these burgers, I can't even begin to tell you how good they were! Very moist and flavorful, but not overpowering. YUM. And the onions were divine! This one's a keeper for sure!!

Onion-Smothered Italian Burgers

Source: Cooking Light Magazine, August 2008
Yield: 4 burgers

Serve corn on the cob as a quick and easy side dish and low-fat strawberry ice cream for dessert.

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons preshredded fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 pound ground beef, extra lean
Cooking spray
4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, sugar, salt, and pepper to pan. Cook 6 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar to the pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

2. Combine cheese and next 5 ingredients (through beef) in a medium bowl; shape meat mixture into 4 (3-inch) patties. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun; top each patty with 1/4 cup onion mixture and top half of each bun.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 330 (24% from fat), Fat: 8.9g (sat 3g,mono 3.7g,poly 1.5g), Protein: 28.9g, Carbohydrate: 33.7g, Fiber: 2.9g, Cholesterol: 65mg, Iron: 4mg, Sodium: 541mg, Calcium: 142mg

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

(33) Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans

Another winner from Eating Well Magazine! This was super fast to put together and very tasty! It needed a zip of salt (and my red pepper flake addiction will lead me to tell you that I think this would be AWESOME with red pepper flakes in it! Do they make a 12-step program for this?).

Anywho - I used a full bag of baby spinach instead of the chard and I didn't chop it... one less thing to worry about!. Everyone liked this meal, even the baby!! I served it with a salad (no, the baby did NOT have salad) and bread (which I burned! OOPS!). I'm a mess on 2 legs sometimes...

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans

In this one-skillet supper, we toss dark leafy greens, diced tomatoes and white beans with gnocchi and top it all with gooey mozzarella. Serve with a mixed green salad with vinaigrette.

Makes 6 servings (I did 5 adult + 1 baby serving + a little extra for my sweetie in his bowl)

Source: Eating Well Magazine, January/February 2009

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi (see Tip)
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
6 cups chopped chard leaves (about 1 small bunch) or spinach
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add chard (or spinach) and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.

Per serving: 325 calories; 7 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono); 8 mg cholesterol; 55 g carbohydrate; 14 g protein; 6 g fiber; 616 mg sodium; 360 mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (50% daily value), Vitamin C (40% dv), Calcium & Iron (19% dv).
3 Carbohydrate Servings

TIP: Look for shelf-stable gnocchi near other pasta in the Italian section of most supermarkets.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

(32) Lemon-Garlic Shrimp & Vegetables

For a recipe billed as "a twist on shrimp scampi", I sure did expect a STRONG garlic flavor. This was anything but strong. It had nice mild flavors and was VERY filling. 2 lbs of asparagus is a LOT of asparagus! Holy cow!

I used a red and a yellow pepper because the reds looked pitiful. I think next time I'd add a little fresh cracked pepper right @ the end (or maybe even some red pepper flakes! YUM!). I served it over plain old couscous and it was just right! (oh and you've gotta love the nutritional info on this one! Filling and low cal! SCORE!)

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp & Vegetables

Here’s a healthy twist on shrimp scampi. We left out the butter and loaded the dish up with red peppers and asparagus for a refreshing spring meal. Serve with quinoa, whole-wheat couscous or linguine.

Source: Eating Well Magazine, March/April 2008
Yield: 4 (very generous) servings

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large red bell peppers, diced
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound raw shrimp (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, asparagus, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl; cover to keep warm.

2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth and add to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve the shrimp and sauce over the vegetables.

226 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 174 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 28 g protein; 4 g fiber; 514 mg sodium; 670 mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (210% daily value), Vitamin A (80% dv), Folate (53% dv), Iron (25% dv).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The difference between bread flour & all-purpose flour?

Jen posed an interesting question in the comments for the Bread Machine White Bread. What's the difference between regular old all-purpose and bread flour? And to be honest with you, I knew there was a difference, but could not tell you exactly what that difference was! Alrighty then!

So off to google I went. I discovered that bread flour is higher in gluten and protein. Both of these are important when baking bread. The gluten is what helps bread become elastic, work with the yeast better, and in the end, makes the loaves chewy and rounded/full. The more elastic the dough, the better it traps the gasses that the yeast creates. When this happens, the dough rises! Voila!

In flour, the higher the protein/gluten, the chewier your product will be. I found this great link showing protein % of flours:

Cake flour is typically 7-9% protein;
pastry, or cookie, ~9-10%;
all purpose, 10-12%,
bread, 12.5-13.5%,
clear and high gluten, 14-15%;
gluten "flour" (actually refined gluten), 45%.

And if you think about it - you dont want a tough/chewy cake or pie crust, right? But you would want a chewier pizza dough or bagel. So that's where the bread flour comes in handy.

I hope this helps answer your question, Jen?? Let me know if it does and if you have any other questions!
PS: 2 good links for reading more on this are Ochef and this site!

Ruh Roh Raggy...

The year is nearly over and Im nowhere near making 104 recipes (which is about half of 209 for those of you who are math-ily challenged!). There are approximately 56 days left until June 30th and I need to make 73 recipes by then. Don't think that's gonna happen!!

But I will try valliantly. Stupid germs kept me out of the kitchen a good part of February and March, but now it's ON! So please help a girl out. Send me your favorite quick and easy (light, preferably!) recipes. I prefer stuff that I can make in less than an hour for weeknight dinners! Comment to me or you can email me - oduamy at gmail dot com.


PS: My baby turns one on June 30th. I can't believe that in 56 days she'll be a year old! I AM IN DENIAL!

Monday, May 4, 2009

(31) Coca-Cola Cake

Oh lord have mercy. I really do not bake, but somehow I've become the birthday fairy at work. This week we had 3 birthdays - so I got to roll them into one cake! HOLLA! Ok, so I really did make 3 cakes, but only one turned out! One of the birthday girls requested a Coca-Cola Cake. Never heard of it, never made one, but how hard can it be, right?! *snort*

At first I tried this recipe. I do not recommend it. Not at all. I certainly lived up to my reputation of Messiest Chef Mommy!! *sigh* So the 1st cake never made it to the oven. The 2nd cake cracked coming out of the pan. /EPIC FAIL/

The third cake was the winner. I will say that I wasn't quite sure if I should refrigerate this or not? The 1st cake said to, the 2nd recipe said nothing about it. So I figured I'd be safe and put it in the fridge. Yeah, the frosting was like a ROCK! I will say that it got gobbled up at work, so I must have done something right (that or my office has lost all of their tastebuds, which is entirely possible considering our line of work!).

Has anybody out there made this cake (or something similar!?). Can you confirm if it should be refrigerated or not?? Thank you!!

Coca Cola Cake

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup Coke
2 cups miniature marshmallows

1/2 cup margarine or butter
3 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons Coke
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16 ounce) box powdered sugar
1 cup nuts

1) Mix first 8 ingredients, then heat next 3 and add gradually into first mixtures.
2) Grease 13X9X2 inch cake pan and cover bottom with 2 cups miniature marshmallows.
3) Pour batter over that. Bake at 350 degrees (preheated oven) for 35-45 minutes.
4) Pour icing over warm cake.
5) For icing: Heat margarine, cocoa, Coke and vanilla. Pour over the powdered sugar and mix. Add nuts then add frosting to the cake.
6) Cool before serving.

Friday, May 1, 2009

(30) Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Sweet and Spicy Sauce

Holy yumminess!! Wait, let me say that again HOLY YUMMINESS!!! These things rock. Wow. Very quick/easy to make and super flavorful! I skipped the peanut step and just used salted peanuts from the can (I'm lazy and cheap, what can I say?!). They were spicy but not en fuego. Just awesome!!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Sweet and Spicy Sauce

CL Comments: You can serve these casual wraps buffet style. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter, spoon the chicken salad in a bowl, and place the sauce in a small bowl on the side. Let people assemble their own wraps since this is one less step for the cook.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 wraps)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, June 2006

3 tablespoons unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon bottled ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
2 cups packaged cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw
1 cup canned sliced water chestnuts, drained
8 ounces grilled chicken breast strips (such as Louis Rich)
12 Bibb lettuce leaves

1) Place peanuts in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan frequently. Remove pan from heat; set aside.

2) Combine hoisin, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, oil, pepper, and garlic in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

3) Combine peanuts, coleslaw, water chestnuts, and chicken in a medium bowl; toss well.

4) Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken salad in the center of each lettuce leaf; top each with 2 teaspoons sauce. Roll up; secure with a wooden pick.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 197 (34% from fat), Fat: 7.4g (sat 1.4g,mono 2.9g,poly 2.1g), Protein: 16.5g, Carbohydrate: 18.2g, Fiber: 3.4g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Iron: 1.9mg, Sodium: 825mg, Calcium: 40mg